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DeAndre Hopkins has championship aspirations with Kyler Murray as his QB

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- A deluge of hype has swirled around DeAndre Hopkins' trade to the Arizona Cardinals, where he has paired with one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Kyler Murray.

On Sunday, it seemed the hype was warranted. Together, Murray and Hopkins willed the Cardinals to a season-opening 24-20 win over the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

The pair connected 14 times -- a career high for Hopkins -- for 151 yards. It's only one game, but the Murray-to-Hopkins connection could become one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the game. And the win seemingly alters the trajectory not only of the Cardinals season but the dynamics of the NFC West.

"Hopefully a tandem that can attain a goal that every organization want to get to -- and that's the ultimate goal at the end of the year," Hopkins said, referring to the Lombardi Trophy. "But we got to take it day by day and game by game, but hopefully ... and I speak things into existence.

"But that's why we play football, is to win a championship. and if you don't play football for that reason, then you shouldn't step on the field. But after what you guys seen today, the sky's the limit [for] what this team can do, not just him and I."

Coach Kliff Kingsbury thinks this is just the start, with even more potential as they continue to build on their relationship and get on the same page.

"We can be great," Murray said. "I know we both have aspirations of being the best to do it. So that's where I hope to take this thing. We don't step into the building every day and try to get worse. We try to be the best that we can be. I'm glad that he's on our team."

Against the 49ers, Hopkins was dominant. He had eight first downs and accounted for 66% of the Cardinals' receiving yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

What Hopkins and Murray showed against the Niners was that they could feed off each other in a comeback -- down 10-0 in the first quarter and 20-17 in the fourth -- which is much harder to do then keep piling on during a blowout.

"I knew probably early in the game that there were going to be some things that we're gonna have to fight through but Kyler kept giving me the ball, kept feeding me and we kept making plays," Hopkins said. "No one panicked. Kliff kept giving me the ball, kept calling my number.

"I know that once we got going then things would started heating up. Other guys made big plays and [Kyler] just came to me when we need a first down or needed a big play, and I'm just happy that I can be here to help this team win and do we want to do."

When it comes to projecting what he and Hopkins are building in Arizona, Murray tried to stay even-keeled.

"Never get too high, never get too low," Murray said. "Obviously, he had a heck of a day but, for me, personally, this game is over with, this week is over with and onto another good football team. We have to practice well and execute well Sunday."

Behind the cliches is a quarterback who knows he can rely on one of the best receivers in all of football. After the game, Murray reiterated a notion that he mentioned during training camp: Hopkins has a knack for being open -- even when he's not open.

Murray, the reigning offensive rookie of the year, said he can't force him the ball, but then quickly followed up with: "Although sometimes there are those occasions."

That's the type of impact one of the best receivers in football can have on a young quarterback.

"He's going to add such a different dynamic to our team and our offense," Murray said. "And I think you saw that today."

On their two fourth quarter touchdown drives, the Cardinals accounted for 23 plays, 172 yards and took up 10:23 in time of possession. On those two drives, Murray completed 7 of 9 passes for 80 yards and added five rushes for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Hopkins had five receptions for 76 yards. The Cardinals have plenty of confidence and will get a chance to show if that is warranted this week against the Washington Football Team.

"Once the offense got going, I knew that it would be hard to stop us," Hopkins said. "With a guy like Kyler Murray back there at quarterback, Kenyan Drake at running back, it's hard to stop this team once we get going.

"We practice the way we play, that's fast tempo, everyone is in shape, and we knew coming out, once we started clicking, it would be hard to stop us."